Sunday, January 31, 2010

Weather Forecasting

I love checking the weather on-line to see what might be coming our way.  As I view the satellite photos I marvel at how much we can see and predict - and how much we can't.  I reflect on the fact that even fifty years ago farmers and people who were close to the land knew what was coming because they understood the signs.  They watched the animals' behavior. They watched the clouds. They observed how water was moving. The felt in their very marrow the change in the atmospheric pressure that signaled a storm, and often how big a storm it would be.

I remember reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder book, The Long Winter.  Reading it as a child I completely missed the implication of the family huddled around the stove, doing nothing, having nothing to eat, trying to harvest enough snow to melt so they'd have a little water to drink.  Re-reading it as an adult I came to understand the true meaning of the word "stupid" and have tried very hard to not misuse it since then.  I thought about how Laura was only a little over four feet tall as an adult, and I wonder how much of that was due to the malnutrition and hardship of her early years.

Yesterday it snowed here.  It started around 8 in the morning and didn't let up until after nightfall.  It wasn't like our pre-Christmas blizzard storm, but it still left a significant amount of the white stuff on the trees and ground.  Much more than had been predicted initially.  We could tell it was coming by watching the birds at our feeders.  And in the midst of it, we could just look at them and know how cold it was.  They were all fluffed out -- they all looked like footballs with beaks except during the moments they were flying.  The minute they landed somewhere they fluffed back up.  There was a riot of robins huddled in and around our front porch snuggling into the mulch next to the house.  

All day long the chickadees, juncoes, sparrows, wrens, finches and downy woodpeckers darted back and forth from the feeders to wherever they were holed up.  My son's bike is near the feeders and lots of the smaller birds used it as a launching point.  They also loved my husband's car tires -- they'd fly in from the bushes, rest a minute on the tires under the overhang of the wheel well, and then launch over to the feeder.  

The photos aren't very good.  We didn't want to get close enough to disturb them -- they were doing all they could to just stay warm and fed.  But they do show the footballs!  

Late in the afternoon a gorgeous cardinal ventured to our suet feeder.  They're not perchers like the woodpeckers, so it is doubtful he got enough suet to make all that flapping to stay on there worth it!  A couple of times we saw a BIG woodpecker.  His problem was that he is so tall, even if he grasped the suet holder at the very bottom, his head stuck out above the top of it.  He had to bend and twist to try to get to the yummy stuff that was somewhere down around his belly level.

This was a gentle storm, and I'm grateful.  No power lines down, and during the day I baked cookies, worked out with the Wii Fit, did laundry, had a shower, read books, played on the short, all of the things that would not have even occurred to the poor Ingalls family as they braved the weather on the prairie, struggling to just survive.

So this morning as we head out to church, we will be grateful and praise the name of Him who provides all, abundantly and miraculously.  Amen.

1 comment:

quilly said...

The other day I passed five deer feeding on the front lawn of the labs. They did not look up or shy away as I passed them. they were eating like machines. Since we had just had three days of beautiful weather, I realized immediately a storm was coming in. A few hours later it tarted raining and it hasn't stopped since.